A John Lewis worker stole more than £1,000 worth of suitcases because he was ‘upset’ after being told he was losing his job.
Jivan Gordon-Powell swiped a number of suitcases and a laundry basket worth nearly £1,300 after the retail giant announced it would be closing its store in Birmingham.
The 23-year-old, from Smethwick, who was a warehouse operative, claimed prior to that, he and his colleagues had only been told how ‘fantastic’ the store was doing.
He admitted making a ‘temporary misjudgement’ by passing a trolley of stolen items under the shutters of the loading bay to two people waiting in a Vauxhall van
Gordon-Powell claimed he was unaware the items were stolen.
He pleaded guilty to one charge of theft by employee and was handed an 18-month community at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, November 25.
John Lewis announced in July the store would close. Later the retail giant stated the Grand Central shop, among others, had been ‘financially challenged’ even before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gordon-Powell stole the items on July 30.
Prosecutor Richard Purchase said: “On the day in question the store was closing down. Mr Gordon-Powell loaded the items into the trolley. He goes to the loading bay and lifts up the shutters and put the trolley into a silver Vauxhall Astra waiting outside. Two other people helped him remove the items.
“Mr Gordon-Powell left the site without paying for the items. There were no charges in relation to the other two people involved.”
The stolen goods were worth £1,274 in total and were not recovered.
Raj Deu, defending, said: “He says the only explanation he can give is that he, as well as other employees, was upset at the way he had been treated by John Lewis. He had been told, as others were, John Lewis was doing absolutely fantastic. But now he sadly was told he was going to lose his job.
“After working for them for many years now was the end of the road. He and other employees were so upset. He made a temporary misjudgement.”
Ms Deu told the court that Gordon-Powell had since started his own business and had ‘suffered in his lifetime’, including being shot in the street after he was mistaken for someone else.
She added the theft was ‘totally out of character’ and that he was a polite, family person.
Gordon-Powell, of Kilmet Walk, was ordered to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work, pay £1,274 in compensation to John Lewis and a £95 victim surcharge.
The Chair of the Bench said: “Theft by employee is a serious offence because it’s a breach of trust. You were entrusted by John Lewis to be an employee and you breached that trust when you decided to steal from them.”